Skip to main content

Open Very Carefully: A Book With Bite by Nick Bromley, illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite, written by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne joins a fine tradition of picture books that subvert the (sometimes well known) story and engage the reader. I'm sure this kind of book can be traced back farther, but my memory starts with the 1971 Little Golden Book The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone, illustrated by Mike Smollin. David Wiesner's wonderful 2001 Caldecot winner The Three Pigs also came to mind, as did Hervé Tullet's brilliant Press Here. I love these kinds of books, and what I love best about Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite is that fact that it is perfect for the littlest listeners with just a touch of suspense, a lot of humor and some literal writing over of the story and the illustrations.

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite begins with an uninvited guest interrupting the story of The Ugly Duckling.
The intruder is a sneaky one, hiding from our narrator, the ugly little duckling who is really a cute little cygnet in a red knit cap.  

The beast even eats some of the letters from the story! But, our hero is a clever little bird and he has some ideas about how to get rid of the croc that include having readers rock the book from side to side, lulling the croc to sleep, drawing on the croc while he sleeps and shaking the book to see if it's possible to shake the croc right off the page!
I hate to give away the ending, but it is one of the coolest parts of this book. The croc begins to EAT his way out of the book leaving a hole on the final page of this book and a matching one on the back cover that leaves the red capped cygnet peeking out at the reader.

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite is a very fun book, the kind of book that, like The Monster at the End of this Book, will be remembered well into adulthood.

Source: Review Copy


Sounds like a really fun book! Will get a copy soon, no not for my kids but for me! Thank you for such a good review.
Tanya said…
You are welcome, and I agree - some kid's books are just too fun not to keep for yourself!
Jeremy said…
Another fun one in the genre: An Undone Fairy Tale by Ian Lendler.My mom still has my old copy of "The Monster at the End of This Book", and I still love it. It's a reminder that licensed titles don't have to be total crap if they use the personalities of the characters to tell a well crafted story. Not sure why they're so rare.
Tanya said…
Just checked out AN UNDONE FAIRY TALE and it looks so good!So true and very well put about licensed titles... Although, the Jim Henson connection might account for Grover being inimitable enough to inspire a memorable licensed title starring him!

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…